Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for best first base gloves

If you play first base, other than the pitcher and the catcher, you see the most action during a game. Unlike the pitcher and the catcher, however, you’re responsible for catching some of the wildest throws imaginable. Because of this, you need an exceptional first base glove.

A first base glove must be flexible and fit comfortably. Whether the throws are coming straight at you like a bullet or falling short and bouncing in the dirt, your glove needs to be able to handle the situation. It must have a deep pocket and be tougher than the standard fielding glove so the fingers don't flop backward.

If you’d like to learn more about the important features to look for in a first base glove and what you can do to make sure yours lasts, keep reading. If you’re ready to purchase, consider the highly rated options we've included in this guide.

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Because first base gloves can be difficult for a child to close, most kids don’t start using one until they’re ten or older.

Key considerations

Three key parts of a first base glove

A first base glove is a hybrid glove that borrows crucial elements from all the other gloves on the field. Because of this, it might be hard to determine what to look for. The best first base glove for you is the one that fits correctly and allows you to concentrate on playing rather than thinking about how awkward the glove feels on your hand. The following are some tips for helping you to find that perfect fit. The key elements to focus on are shape, size, and web.

Shape: A first base glove looks more like a mitten than a glove. The scoop-like shape and the even edge that runs around the top of the glove help the player snatch balls out of the dirt and funnel them deep into the pocket to limit bobbles.

Size: Besides its unique shape, a first base glove has a larger wingspan than other gloves. When placed side by side, a first base glove looks like a big brother to the other infield gloves. This gives the player a larger surface for catching balls that may be coming in hot and a little wild.

Web: The web is the area between the thumb and index finger. A first base glove needs to have a large, flexible web that allows for a deep pocket so a caught ball will stay in the glove. A first base glove usually has a single post web that features one strip of vertical leather along with two horizontal leather strips. This makes the glove lightweight and flexible and allows for some visibility through the webbing.

First base glove features

The size, shape, and web are the primary elements you need to look at when choosing a first base glove. However, there are a number of other factors that you’ll need to consider to be certain you’re getting the best glove for you.


The type of leather determines a glove’s different qualities. Cowhide is a medium-weight leather that is easier to break in than steerhide. Kip leather is a higher-end soft leather that is also easy to break in. If you want a tough and durable glove, look for full-grain leather.

Break-in period

This simply refers to the amount of time it takes to prepare a glove for use. A glove that’s easy to break in won’t be as durable as a thicker glove. To compensate, some manufactures produce gloves that are already partially broken in so the player can use the glove on the field sooner.


The pocket is the palm of the glove. You want a deep pocket on a first base glove. The deeper the pocket, the easier it is to hang on to the ball.


First base gloves need to be flexible, so impact protection isn't a high priority. If you prefer additional padding, look for a glove that offers this feature, but know that it might be more difficult to use.

Wrist adjustment

The wrist adjustment helps you fine-tune the glove for the best fit. Some can be quickly adjusted with hook-and-loop fasteners, which is best for younger players so they can easily adjust the fitting themselves. Other gloves are adjusted with a more complicated process, such as lacing.


Higher-end first base gloves have a lining that wicks away moisture and helps keep your hand cool and dry while playing. If this is important to you, you might need to spend a little more for a first base glove.

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Did you know?
Since the most common play in baseball is throwing a runner out at first, a first base glove sees more action during a game than almost any other glove on the field.

First base glove prices

Inexpensive: You can buy a youth or low-end first base glove for $30 to $50. Many of these offer great flexibility, making them a good choice for younger players. However, most won’t have the impressive durability found in gloves that cost more.

Mid-range: In the $50 to $100 range, you’ll find first base gloves that are suitable for most players. With proper care, these leather gloves can last for many years.

Expensive: After you cross into the $200 and above range, you're looking at high-quality gloves that are made for serious players.

"In general, youth gloves are manufactured from lower-quality materials, but they’re easier to close than adult gloves."


  • Keep your glove way from heat and steam. Heat and steam are not leather’s friends. Never put your glove in an oven or microwave, and avoid steam because it shortens the lifespan of the glove.
  • Condition your glove periodically. And remember that unless your glove is black, leather conditioner will darken the color of your glove.
  • Use a flexible tape measure to measure a hand for a glove. Youth gloves have smaller, narrower fingers, which might not fit a child with larger hands. Measure a baseball glove from the tip of the index finger to the heel of the glove, located at the wrist. Average sizes for first base glove by age are as follows: 7 years old, 11.5 inches; 8 to 12 years old, 11.5 to 12 inches; 14 and up, 12 to 13 inches.
  • Expect some trial and error when looking for the best fit. Finding the best-fitting first base glove is a matter of personal preference.
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One of the major design features of a first base glove is a shape that helps a player catch poorly thrown balls.


Q. Do you have any tips for applying glove oil?
Although some manufacturers claim that applying oil helps with breaking in a glove, the real purpose of the oil is to condition the leather so it lasts. You’ll need to apply glove oil about three or four times per season. First, wipe the glove down with a dry cloth to remove all dirt and dust. Next, apply the oil to a cloth, never directly to the glove. Use the oil sparingly. It’s better to use too little than too much because too much will shorten the lifespan of your glove. Be sure to work the oil into all areas of the glove.

Q. What's the best way to store my first base glove?
When the season ends and it's time to put away your glove for an extended period, apply a light layer of glove oil to keep your glove from drying out. If you just shove your first base glove in a closet for nine months, you could permanently ruin the shape of the glove. It’s best to insert a ball in the pocket and close the glove around the ball so the glove maintains its optimum shape while in storage.

Q. How do I break in my first base glove?
If you want to accelerate the process, breaking in a glove properly depends on your catching style. If you catch the ball by closing your fingers down over your thumb, that's going to create a different crease than if you move your thumb toward your little finger. If you know your catching style, fold the first base glove over the way it is when you catch a ball, and pound along that fold.

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